What Is a Mortuary?


A morgue is a facility in a hospital or medical center where bodies are stored. They are kept there until they can be identified or an autopsy is performed.

Oftentimes, funeral homes have their own morgues so they can provide more services than just an autopsy and burial. They can also perform embalming and have onsite cremation services.


Morgue is a place where bodies are kept temporarily until they can be identified or autopsied. It’s typically located inside a hospital or medical center, although some standalone morgues also exist. While movies often show a morgue as an empty room with a few drawer-like compartments, most real-life mortuaries have much more spacious and well-insulated cold chambers.

These can maintain either a slower positive temperature that doesn’t prevent decomposition or a negative one, which completely freezes the body and slows down decay. There are also special mortuary freezers that can be used to transport the bodies for further processing.

Because the bodies in a morgue are highly infectious, the facilities must contain the spread of germs. For instance, it’s important to provide safety showers and eye wash equipment within the morgue. The facility should also have a back-up system for the refrigeration in case of power outage.


Embalming is the process of replacing body fluids with chemicals to preserve and disinfect the remains. It’s not required by law in the US, but many funeral homes choose to embalm their clients to provide a more respectful goodbye. This machine looks like a toilet but is actually used to drain and replace bodily fluids during embalming. It’s a vital tool in the mortuary that saves a lot of time and effort.

To begin the process, a funeral director will insert a specialized embalming solution into an artery, often in the neck’s carotid or jugular vein. He or she will then wash the body, focusing on private areas, and position it, bending, flexing, and massaging arms and legs to relieve rigor mortis. Once a peaceful pose is achieved, the face will be set. This step is important because it gives family and friends a chance to make arrangements, talk, and say their last farewells before the casket is closed.


Coffins are boxed containers that have been used to carry and protect bodies for funerals in many cultures across the world. They’re important because they provide a barrier between the body and the funeral home staff, which helps prevent the spread of any infectious diseases that may be present. In addition to other procedures like embalming, coffins can help slow the rate of decomposition and preserve the body until the time of burial or cremation.

The most common type of coffin is a wooden box that’s about six-sided and narrower at the feet and head than it is at the shoulders. It’s usually painted or decorated and can feature wreaths, carving, or other symbols of death. More elaborate coffins are often reserved for wealthy families or people of high status.

Caskets are similar to coffins, but they’re typically made of metal or wood with a hinged lid. They’re more expensive than coffins, but they offer a better opportunity for family members and friends to say their goodbyes. Many funeral homes sell caskets as part of their services, and they can be rented for use during viewings.


Cremation is a common choice for many families. It allows for more flexibility with memorialization and can save money compared to burial costs. However, there are some disadvantages to it.

First, the body is prepared for cremation by washing it with water and a disinfectant. Then the funeral director sutures any incisions and applies cosmetics. This may include the use of specialized makeup or regular store-bought products.

In some Christian countries and cultures, traditional burial is discouraged as a rejection of the respect due to humans who are created in God’s image. However, cremation is becoming more acceptable to the majority of Christians and other religions.

As the earth’s land resources are limited, cremation can also help conserve space by not using a casket or grave site. Ashes can be scattered or kept in a special urn. They can also be used to make jewelry or incorporated into other art pieces.

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